Last night I returned from Atlanta after a powerful speaking event with the marketing firm Communique´ USA, Inc. My friend Shani Godwin, President & CEO of Communique´, invited me to speak to her team about “How to Boost Productivity, Creativity, and Inner Calm With Mindfulness Practice.”
Shani personifies mindful leadership. She recognizes that if her staff is stressed, they can’t serve their clients well. She knows that stress hits a company’s bottom line, citing the statistic that stress cost US companies $360 billion in productivity losses last year. So she does what she can to give her team the tools they need to navigate stress-filled work settings more mindfully.
How’s this for walking the talk of mindful leadership? Shani established a company policy years ago that prohibits employees from sending work emails after 7 p.m. or on the weekends. Clients are informed of this policy and factor it into their expectations. Work/life balance is a core component of the company’s value system and policies like this one prove it.
On the other end of the mindful leadership spectrum…
On my plane ride down to Atlanta, I sat next to a man on his way home for the first time in a month. He’s working on a long-term construction project in Virginia laying huge concrete pipes underground. Blue collar, heavy machinery operator named George. After telling me about the projects he’s worked on all around the country, all the machines he operates, and the difficult working conditions (he’s been living in a trailer with no water for a month), he asked what was bringing me to Atlanta.
I told him in a tentative sort of way. “I’ll be talking to a company about mindfulness in the workplace. It’s about how practices like meditation and other strategies can help us work and live better. Have you heard of it?”
George said, “Yeah. I know what that is. They did that to us last year too.”
“Excuse me?” I said. “What did they do to you?”
“They put us all in a dark room after overworking us and told us to relax,” George explained. “Most of us slept through it, but it was still kind of nice. If they want to pay us to do that, I guess that’s OK with me. Seemed like a waste of money and time, though, when all they usually do is tell us to work faster.”
I laughed out loud at his description of mindfulness training being something that “was done to him.” Sure wish those mindful leaders of George’s company would hook up a water line to his trailer as another mindful gesture.
What a mindfully led team looks like…
I was lucky to have a much more receptive audience. The interaction was filled with discussion of common challenges, strategies to respond more skillfully to stressful life and work situations, and simple ways to introduce more intentionality and focus into the work day.
I am so proud of Shani and what she has done to nurture and cultivate mindfulness in her company, starting first and foremost with herself. She repeatedly tells her team, “I can’t be the emperor wearing no clothes. If you notice I’m stressed, I want you to call me out on it.” That’s what mindful and courageous leadership looks like.
I couldn’t be more grateful to have been invited to speak to the motivated, heart-centered professionals at Communique´ USA. Thank you for sharing your positive energy with me and for giving me hope that mindfulness is truly making its way in to our corporate culture with the help of visionaries like Shani Godwin.
Before I sign off, I’d like to thank everyone who voted for their favorite water lily and lotus flower images from last week’s post. If you missed it, click here to check them out! Leave your feedback in the comment section or shoot me an email!
If you enjoyed today’s post and are not yet a subscriber, please join my Readers Circle via the sign-up box in the right margin and receive my free ebook Six Playfully Mindful Strategies to Beat Procrastination and Boost Productivity. You’ll also receive updates on my book Blooming into Mindfulness, weekly blog posts, and photography, speaking engagement, and workshop news. Email is much more reliable than social media in getting information to you in a timely fashion, so sign up to make sure you’re in the loop! (I promise not to share your address or send you spam.)
And if you know someone else who might benefit from an extra dose of calm in their lives, please spread the word! Social media likes and shares are always appreciated.
Finally, if you find typos anywhere on my site, I’d be grateful if you let me know. I hate typos! Contact me so that I can correct the error. Thank you!